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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, November 20, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 145:1–5, 17–21    

I will extol you, my God and King,
   and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
   and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another,
   and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

The Lord is just in all his ways,
   and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
   he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
   and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (NRSV)

“It’s always a joy for me to get up in the morning and say: ‘Here’s another day.’”

The beaming face of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the beloved chaplain of the Loyola University Ramblers’ basketball team at her hundredth birthday celebration, reflects the God–filled exaltation of the psalmist. The Chicago Tribune quotes her telling the reporter that she practices the St. Ignatius examen at night, reflecting on her day, the good (and bad) she’s done and, no doubt, exalting God for the joy God has brought into her life and those around her. Sister Jean exemplifies how “one generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). In her joyous smile and unflagging optimism, she conveys to young students the “glorious splendor” and “wonderful works” of “God the King.”

After enjoying this uplifting Tribune article, I turned to Talking to God, the inspiring anthology of John H. Boyle’s prayers during his ministry at Fourth Church, published late last year by his widow, Kathye. Dr. Boyle’s joy and confidence in his God, whatever the circumstances, evoke in those who read his prayers awe, praise, gratitude, and humility—his generation commending God’s works and care to generations to come.

The psalmist ends by reminding us that “the Lord is near to all who call on him,” but adds, “to all who call on him in truth . . . who fear him . . . who love him.” So there are some conditions to feeling this joy, to feeling truly exultant. We must be honest with God and with ourselves; we should maintain awe and respect; and we should remember that God is a God of love and one whom we should love and praise—every night, like Sister Jean does.

Loving God, we thank you for your wonderful works in our lives and pray that we will be forever grateful and worthy of them, so much so that we may commend with joy your works to other generations. Amen.

Written by Rebecca Dixon, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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